Senate Bill 34: An Act Concerning Short-Term Health Insurance

Testimony To Insurance Committee

Respectfully submitted February 6, 2019 by: Melissa Keilty BSW Candidate WCSU, BSW Intern NASW-CT

Dear Representative Lesser, Scanlon, Hartley, and other esteemed members of the Insurance and Real Estate committee,

My name is Melissa Keilty, a Bachelor’s of Social Work candidate at Western CT State University and I represent the NASW-CT Chapter.  The National Association of Social Workers CT Chapter represents over 2,600 members who stand in opposition against Senate Bill 34.  We call upon the committee to support this legislation.

The Affordable Care Act introduced monumental changes to increase access, reduce inequities, control costs, and increase quality in medical care delivery.  In 2018, H.B. 5210, which maintained ACA coverage of essential health benefits, passed both chambers. This bill assures Connecticut constituents will have healthcare needs met including mental health and substance use disorder services, maternity care, and prescription drug coverage. The currently proposed Senate Bill 34 would uphold H.B. 5210 by requiring temporary insurance policies to include covering these essential health benefits.

According to the Mental Health Foundation, certain population subgroups are at a higher risk of developing mental health problems because of exposure to unfavorable economic and social circumstances.  Individuals in our communities forego getting essential care simply because they cannot afford them or do not have adequate coverage. As social workers and advocates for the communities we serve, we believe it falls upon us to protect their rights by speaking for legislation that enhances an adequate standard of living.

Senate Bill 34 will protect constituents who find themselves in an unanticipated health situation and require services such as maternity and prenatal care, hospitalization services, ambulatory car, and prescription drug coverage.  Without essential benefits included in temporary polices consumers will believe they are paying for coverage they, in fact, do not have.

Each one of us desires to live without the fear of a diagnosis drowning us in debt.  Each one of us will need to count on sustainable, equitable health policies to support our wellbeing. Connecticut must maintain its sense of dignity for those who do not currently possess longer-term insurance plans. It is in the best interest of physical and psychological health that Senate Bill 34 passes.

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